The European Society of Cardiology calls it “the best ACS management in all of Europe” – Aarhus, Denmark’s cardiac care unit at Aarhus University Hospital has a fascinating system in place to facilitate triage, optimize resource allocation and decrease time-to-response for cardiac patients.

Dr. Steen Kristensen gives an overview and a look inside their department in this 5 1/2 minute video clip.

The system involves a specialized emergency number reserved only for chest pain cases, 112. Dialing 112 initiates an ambulance visit to the site of the patient, where a 12-lead EKG is performed, along with patient history and exam, all sent to the cardiac unit at the hospital where an on-call doctor assesses the data and decides if the patient is in need of angioplasty at the specialty unit of Aarhus University Hospital, or if they can be taken for care at a regional hospital.

If the medical team decides the patient is in need of angioplasty, once the notice is sent to the ambulance to transport the patient to the university hospital, a team begins to prep one of the 7 cath lab rooms, with a team, typically composed of 1 doctor and 3 nurses, preparing for the patient’s arrival. These rooms are all monitored from a centralized location where doctors and staff can communicate with each other about the status of the room prep and patient via a messaging system.

Dr. Kristensen estimates the time from the patient’s arrival to the hospital to their admittance into the cath lab is between 2-4 minutes. Patients typically will remain at the Acute Coronary Care Unit in Aarhus for between 14-24 hours and are then sent to their regional hospital for admittance and observational/follow-up care.


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